Author: Evelyn Lozada
When a single mom ends up playing an unwilling fake girlfriend to a charming playboy baseball player, love suddenly turns everything upside down in this fun, heartwarming multicultural romance.
Angel Gomez has never lived by the book. A Bronx-based unwed mother by the time she was 16, Angel’s personal mission has always been to show the world that a Puerto Rican girl is not to be messed with – especially by a man. The only thing that matters to Angel, now, is providing for her son and earning enough tips at the club to complete her nursing degree along the way. Love is nowhere on her agenda.
Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is a star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts whose romantic escapades make delicious fodder for gossip columns. But lately, he’s been trying to keep a lower profile – so much so that when he meets Angel, first while she’s in her nurse uniform and the next time behind the bar, she has no idea who Duke is, fails to fall for his obvious charm, and ends up throwing a drink in his face! She is the perfect woman for Duke…to fool the tabloids into thinking he’s finally settling down. But what begins as a charade soon has Duke and Angel hurtling into a full-blown romance that rocks each of their worlds and begs the question: Is this the real deal – or are some love stories just too good to be true?
I found The Perfect Date randomly in my online library and thought it sounded like a fun fake dating romance. After seeing tons of negative reviews online for it, I was filled with trepedations about reading it; however, morbid curiosity compelled me to read it for myself. This book was a huge struggle to get through, but I kept reading in hopes that it would get better. Sadly, it never did and made me wish I could go back in time and DNF it even though I rarely do that with novels. The story is told from the POVs of both main characters where sometimes it would alternate within a single chapter. Sometimes it was easy enough to distinguish them and other times the change seemed too abrupt.
Angel Gomez is a nursing student in her 20s who is studying for her license at an emergency clinic while also working at a cocktail bar to help pay the bills. After having her son, Jose, at 16, she has been raising him as a single mom, while trying to deal with helping his asthma. She’s overworked and has a lot of stress in her life, so I could understand how she was a little standoffish at times. She has horrible bosses at both of her jobs, and it becomes a lot to handle as she tries to get ahead. On the surface she seemed like a character that I wanted to root for, however, she was very judgmental towards other people, especially women. It came across most of the time that she thought she was superior to every single person around her. While that may be the case for some of the other terrible characters in the story, it became way too much.
As for the other main character, Caleb ‘The Duke’ Lewis is the star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts. After a shooting incident, he is suffering from an ankle injury that he is trying to keep hidden as it could damage his career. When he is at the clinic, he meets Angel and ends up using her as a cover to keep the press off his trail. The two of them fake being in a relationship, which sets off the main part of the story. This seemed like it would be right up my alley, except Caleb would not be someone I would wish anyone to ever romantically be involved. He may be immature and hang out with the wrong people, but he is also condescending and misogynistic. There was very few redeeming (if any) for him, so I could not imagine why Angel, even though she was not a lot better, would want to be with him.
The story is short and a quick read with a decent flow, but the content itself made me question why a lot of it was not edited out. There are multiple sexual encounters described in detail involving other characters that seemed unnecessary. Even if the author was trying to paint the picture about why these characters weren’t great, it did not need to be drawn out for the reader to understand. In addition to the fake dating, there is a lot of drama involving Duke’s ex, Regina, and Angel’s bosses, especially Dr. Collins. I honestly do not know if there is enough potential where some nice editing would make this novel readable for me or if it is a lost cause. I have to give it credit, in a way, as it was an unexpected read; however, I would not recommend it nor would I ever reread it again.